If you’re expecting your first child, you may not have thought much about purchasing a baby carrier. But believe me, they can make life so much simpler! Often babies really prefer to be next to Mama or Daddy—but it’s not always practical to use both hands to hold them. Sometimes you’ve just got to get stuff done, whether it’s the dishes, playing with your bigger kids or doing some work at home. We’ve already rounded up our top 10 best baby wrap carriers, so here I’m going to fill you in on the best structured baby carriers—sometimes known as baby carrier backpacks. These aren’t just for the hiking set, though. These baby carriers offer more structure than a wrap, and they are usually worn on the front of your body. However, some can be worn in multiple positions, including on your back as a backpack.
Do I Need a Baby Carrier?
There are several reasons to wear your baby. First, it’s easier than carrying them either in your arms or in a snap-and-go car seat carrier. But more importantly, babies love to be close to you. It helps to promote breastfeeding, if that’s your cup of tea, and it makes babies feel safe, secure and comforted. Plus, once baby is a little older, if you get a carrier where she can face outward, it allows her to explore her world in a whole new way, which is wonderful for her development. Wearing an infant in a carrier is also a great way for Dad or any non–birth parent or caregiver to bond with baby.
What Kind of Carrier Is the Best?
While slings are amazing for very young babies, as your infant grows it’s nice to have a sturdier option that can grow with your kiddo. Some of the options below even work with toddlers! Personally, I prefer the structured carriers to slings, as they feel more secure and are in general less tricky to get baby into. Below, you’ll see a wide variety of these more structured carriers—if you want a super versatile one, then check out the convertible options, such as the Ergobaby 360 or the Infantino Flip Advanced.
For more newborn gear, check out our top 10 best baby swaddles, as well as our top 10 best nursing pillows for new moms. And if you are thinking of putting together an Amazon Baby Registry, now is a great time. You get tons of perks, such as the 15% registry completion discount bonus and a free welcome box when someone purchases an item from your registry.
I’ve compared the top rated structured baby carriers on the market to put together this list of parent favorite baby carriers. Some are extremely affordable, while others will cost you more but offer amazing features, such as growing with baby or being easier on your back. Good luck finding the perfect baby carrier for you and your little one.
1. Best All-Around Baby Carrier: Ergobaby 360 All Carry Positions Cool Mesh Ergonomic Baby Carrier
The Ergobaby 360 All Carry Positions Cool Mesh Ergonomic Baby Carrier is a convertible, structured baby carrier that can take your baby from infanthood up to 33 pounds or 36 months old. The adjustable baby carrier provides comfortable and ergonomic support at every stage. If you want to carry your newborn (zero to four months, weighing seven to 12 pounds) in the Ergobaby 360, you will need to purchase a separate Ergobaby Infant Insert. This baby carrier provides extra lower back support and includes a wide wraparound waistband; it places the weight of baby on your hips, not your lower back. This Ergobaby carrier has a cooler design that is made with lightweight mesh, so it’s extra breathable, making it perfect for those hot summer months. It works in multiple positions, including baby facing in or out, and baby on front or back.
This model is on the more expensive side of things and has no pockets for stashing your keys, lip balm or whatever else you need to have on the go. Some consumers report that it is difficult to clip this baby carrier in the back without help, so make sure you watch how-to videos and master this skill before you head out on your own with baby!
- Comfortable & ergonomic at all stages, from infant to toddler
- Extra lower back support with wide wraparound waistband
- Cooler design with lightweight mesh for breathability
- Baby can face in or out and be worn on front or back
- If you want to use for very young babies, need to purchase the Ergobaby Infant Insert
- No pockets for holding keys, wallet, etc.
- Somewhat difficult to fasten clip on back with no help
Find more Ergobaby 360 All Carry Positions Cool Mesh Ergonomic Baby Carrier information and reviews here.
2. Best Bargain Baby Carrier: Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier
The Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier is a convertible carrier designed to work for babies and toddlers weighing between eight and 32 pounds. At less than $30, this baby carrier is a bargain compared to most of the other carriers on this list. It’s machine washable and the fabric is very soft and comfortable. A convertible carrier, the Infantino Flip Advanced gives you four ways to carry your baby: facing in narrow seat for newborns, facing in wide seat for older babies, facing out narrow seat for babies with head control and back carry wide seat for older babies and toddlers.
Despite the fact that this product claims to hold babies weighing up to 32 pounds, some consumers have found that it doesn’t work as well for older babies, becoming uncomfortable as baby gets bigger. This baby carrier is not ergonomic, and the shoulder straps are on the thin side, not providing much in the way of padding. It does not include a pocket for storing your belongings.
Bottom line: The Infantino Flip Advanced is a very affordable structured baby carrier that works great for smaller babies and shorter errands, but may not be heavy duty enough to stand up to toddlers.
- Convertible carrier works for infants weighing eight to 32 pounds
- Machine washable
- Four ways to carry baby, so it grows with your child
- Shoulder straps don’t provide a lot of padding
- Some consumers note that it doesn’t work as well for older babies
- Not ergonomic
- No pocket for storing your belongings
3. Best Classic Baby Carrier: Babybjorn Baby Carrier Original
The Babybjorn Baby Carrier Original is a classic structured baby carrier that has been around for a long time and is beloved by parents everywhere. Its price is right in the middle at $43.99, so it’s a great deal if you’re not sure you’re ready to take the plunge on a fancier model. This baby carrier gives you two options for wearing your baby: facing in or out. (It does not have a back-carry option.) The Babybjorn Baby Carrier Original does not require an infant insert and works for babies weighing between eight and 25 pounds. This product was developed with pediatricians to give the proper support for baby’s head, neck, spine and hips. Parents love how lightweight and easy to use this product is.
Unfortunately, there are some complaints that this baby carrier is not comfortable, especially when carrying babies on the heavier side. It doesn’t include a lumbar support piece (though some other Babybjorn models do), and the shoulder straps are on the thin side. It also can get quite warm in hot weather, so you may want to look into the Babybjorn Baby Carrier Original in Mesh if you live in a hot climate.
Price: $43.99 (45 percent off MSRP)
- No infant insert needed for newborns
- Developed with pediatricians to give the proper support for baby’s head, neck, spine and hips
- Easy to use
- No back-carry option
- Maxes out at 25 pounds
- Does not include lumbar support piece, shoulder straps are thin
- Not breathable in hot weather
4. Best Toddler Baby Carrier: Boba Baby Carrier 4G
The Boba Baby Carrier 4G is a convertible, structured baby carrier that holds babies from seven pounds all the way up to 45. It has a comfortable design that fits most people with many different ways to adjust the straps and carrier. The convertible design allows for baby to be carried either on the front or the back, though there is no forward-facing option. The Boba includes a removable hood that you can use when nursing or in cold weather, as well as foot straps and and integrated infant insert (no need to purchase a separate gadget for newborns!). This model also includes pockets, so feel free to stash your credit cards, lip balm or whatever else you need easy access to when you’re wearing baby.
This product is on the more expensive side, but if you can get more years of use out of it, it may be worth it. It is somewhat bulky, and some consumers have reported that it is difficult to get the hang of how to put the carrier on, especially with the variety of ways it can be worn. Feel free to check out the video below for tips on how to use this baby carrier.
- Convertible design allows for multiple carry positions, including front and back for infants weighing seven to 45 pounds
- Includes removable hood, foot straps and integrated infant insert
- Has pockets for on-the-go storage
- Comfortable and fits moms and dads in a variety of sizes and shapes
- No forward-facing option
- Somewhat bulky
- Somewhat difficult to get the hang of putting this carrier on
5. Best Baby Carrier for Baby’s Comfort: Ergobaby Original Ergonomic Multi-Position Baby Carrier
The Ergobaby Original Ergonomic Multi-Position Baby Carrier is the baby carrier that we registered for with our firstborn, and after it made the rounds to my sister-in-law and her two babies, I’m planning on using it again for my second child, due this fall. I loved this product, but even though I had the infant insert, I was too nervous to wear my son when he was a newborn. Starting around two months, though, the Ergobaby Original was a great option for us—it fit my husband well, too, and our son loved being worn in it.
This product has an ergonomic, comfortable design that is acknowledged as hip healthy by the International Hip Dsyplasia Institute—the seat is deep and wide to support baby in a natural “M” position in all carry positions. It’s also supportive of the caregiver’s lower back. The convertible design of the Ergobaby Original baby carrier allows you to wear your baby on your front, hip or back as she grows. It’s fully machine washable and has an extra large zippered pocket for your essentials.
In order to take advantage of wearing your baby in the Ergobaby Original when she is between seven and 12 pounds, you need to purchase the Ergobaby Infant Insert. Although this product is cheaper than the Ergobaby 360, it is still on the expensive side. Parents do tend to think the cost is worth it because of the ergonomic design that is safe for baby and easy on your back. This model is not compatible with forward facing—if you want that option, you can purchase the Ergobaby 360, reviewed above. Some consumers find this baby carrier is somewhat difficult to put on by yourself, so practice, practice, practice!
- Ergonomic, comfortable design for baby and caregiver
- Convertible design allows you to wear on front, hip or back as baby grows
- Extra large zippered pocket for your essentials
- Machine washable
- Must purchase separate Ergobaby Infant Insert to use with newborns
- Not compatible with forward-facing
- Somewhat difficult to put on by yourself
6. Best Baby Carrier for Plus-Size Caregivers: Evenflo Active Soft Carrier
Typically available at Walmart, the Evenflo Active Soft Carrier is a super affordable convertible, structured baby carrier that allows for the following positions: rear facing, forward facing and back carry. Consumers like the extra padding in the shoulders, as well as the lumbar support that distributes weight to hips for comfort. Because of how adjustable all of the straps are, most consumers say this fits plus size and tall caregivers comfortably. This baby carrier is designed to work for babies weighing between seven and 32 pounds. It has an innovative side latch that makes it easier to get baby into the carrier (though some folks have reported the unlatching can be difficult—their tip is to read the directions carefully before attempting this task). The fabric is easy to clean and machine washable.
Some consumers have noted that the forward-facing position doesn’t feel as secure as they hoped it would. There are also some complaints that the material is cheaply made and the stitching is poor. Finally, some consumers have noted that this baby carrier is somewhat difficult to put on without assistance.
Price: $23.48 (22 percent off MSRP)
- Convertible baby carrier that allows for rear and forward facing, front and back carry
- Works for babies seven to 32 pounds
- Lumbar support distributes weight to hips for comfort
- Machine washable
- Some consumers feel that the forward-facing position isn’t secure
- Somewhat difficult to put on without assistance
- Some complaints that the material is cheap
- Side latch somewhat difficult to unlatch
7. Best Breathable Baby Carrier: Lillebaby The Complete Airflow 360° Ergonomic Six-Position Baby & Child Carrier
The Lillebaby The Complete Airflow 360° Ergonomic Six-Position Baby & Child Carrier is another somewhat pricey convertible, structured baby carrier that offers the following six positions: front inward (fetal, infant or toddler settings), front outward, hip and back carry. It is designed to carry babies between seven and 45 pounds, and there is no need to purchase a separate infant insert. This baby carrier is designed to be ergonomic for parent and child, and it has been voted the “most comfortable baby carrier” according to Amazon. Its best feature is the mesh design that allows for maximum airflow to keep the caregiver and baby as cool as possible, as wearing a baby tends to generate a lot of warmth and can be uncomfortable in hot climates.
Consumers have noted that it is somewhat difficult to remove stains from this baby carrier, as well as that the storage pocket is on the small side. When comparing to the Ergobaby 360 or Original baby carriers, consumers note that though they have many of the same features, the Lillebaby baby carrier is bulkier and not as soft.
- Convertible carrier offers six positions and works from seven to 45 pounds
- Ergonomic design and no need for infant insert
- Allows for maximum airflow to keep caregiver and baby as cool as possible
- Voted most comfortable baby carrier
- Somewhat difficult to remove stains
- Storage pocket is small
- Bulkier and stiffer than the comparable Ergobaby carrier
Find more Lillebaby The Complete Airflow 360° Ergonomic Six-Position Baby & Child Carrier information and reviews here.
8. Best Machine-Washable Baby Carrier: Baby Tula Ergonomic Carrier
The Baby Tula Ergonomic Carrier is a convertible, structured baby carrier that positions baby in the ergonomic M-position seat, which is optimal for development of her little body. This baby carrier is made for babies weighing between 15 and 45 pounds; if you would like to use it with a newborn under 15 pounds, you will need to purchase the Tula Infant Insert. This convertible carrier allows for front and back carry options but is not compatible with forward-facing. The Tula baby carrier is machine washable.
Some consumers report that the black fabric attracts lint and this baby carrier gets dirty quickly. The price is also fairly high, especially if you factor in the added cost of the infant insert.
- Positions baby in the ergonomic M-position seat, supporting optimal development for her body
- Can be used for babies weighing between 15 and 45 pounds
- Machine washable
- Convertible carrier allows for front and back carry
- No forward-facing option
- Need to purchase Tula Infant Insert if you plan on using with newborn
- Black fabric attracts lint and dirties quickly
9. Baby Carrier with the Best Accessories: Onya Baby Cruiser Infant to Toddler Bundle
The Onya Baby Cruiser Infant to Toddler Bundle includes the ergonomic soft structured baby carrier, as well as the booster, or infant insert, and an organic terry cloth teething pad that attaches to the shoulder straps. Although the price tag is high, this baby carrier comes with a lot of cool accessories and features. In addition to the ones mentioned, this baby carrier has a loop to hook toys onto, a hood to cover baby, a large zipper pocket and a key hook. The legs have extra padding as well for the comfort of baby. This convertible carrier works in three positions: front, back and hip; it is not compatible with forward-facing. Another bonus feature that is totally unique to the Onya baby carrier is that it can become a safe seat for baby on any adult chair by supporting baby and keeping her strapped in while she sits up on the chair. This baby carrier is designed for babies weighing between seven and 45 pounds.
There are some consumer complaints that the Onya baby carrier is somewhat difficult to put on, as well as that the fabric is not as breathable compared to some other baby carriers.
- Ergonomic soft structured baby carrier with three carry positions: front, back and hip
- Integrated chair harness transforms adult chair into a safe seat for baby
- Works for babies weighing seven pounds up to 45 pounds
- Shoulder pads have built-in teething pads made from organic terry cotton
- Runs warm and not as breathable compared to other baby carriers
- Somewhat difficult to put this baby carrier on
- No forward-facing option
10. Best Baby Carrier with Lifetime Guarantee: Beco Gemini Performance Baby Carrier
The Beco Gemini Performance Baby Carrier is a convertible, structured baby carrier with an ergonomic design so both parents and baby are comfortable. The straps have thick, durable padding and are adjustable from 23 to 45 inches. The ergonomic design, including cross straps on the back, ensures that this baby carrier won’t be hard on your back, hips or shoulders. As for baby, the added padding by the leg holes means that she will be comfortable in any position. This baby carrier works in four positions, including forward-facing, front and back. The Beco Gemini Performance Baby Carrier is designed for babies weighing seven pounds all the way up to 35—there’s no need to purchase an infant insert. The fabric is a breathable mesh, designed to keep you and baby cooler.
This product is on the expensive side, but it comes with a lifetime guarantee. That is how strongly Beco feels about this product. Consumers have complained that there is no storage pocket, that it attracts lint and that the clips require both hands to unclip.
- Lifetime guarantee
- Breathable mesh fabric
- Ergonomic design for parents and baby with four carry positions
- Works for newborns weighing seven pounds up to babies weighing 35 pounds without needing to purchase an additional infant insert
- No storage pocket
- Clips require two hands to unclip
- Fabric attracts lint and needs to be brushed/cleaned often
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